Body

 Idonia Van Der Bilj (pictured above)

Idonia Van Der Bilj (pictured above)

If you talk to pottery experts they will often refer to the clay as 'body'.  It's an odd word for a material that can be as fine as it can be heavy, but as you touch it, and work with it, and it takes shape, it kind of makes sense.  It's nothing and then it's something.  It fills an empty space with something solid, hopefully beautiful and possibly useful. Before I became a potter I never really thought about ceramics and how they were made, other than finding certain shapes pleasing and others less so. I aways loved hand made pieces though and many years ago, even though I really couldn't afford it, I collected the work of ceramicist Idonia Van Der Bilj who had a shop in Columbia Road, East London. Her bright blue palette and yellow flag irises still excite me, and over the years they have become an important part of the fabric of our family life, but I was young when I bought them and I really didn't appreciate how much work was involved in each piece. Now my eyes are opened to the incredible skill and imagination potters have and I can totally see why some potters become so collectable - hand crafted pottery is such a creative form; telling stories and eliciting emotions. Each piece leaves something of the maker within it, an essence of them and for a moment, as you pick it up to hold it for the first time, their hand slides into yours.